It’s again that time of the year when people revel in Christmas celebration and merrymaking of yet another new year. And it’s the most wonderful time of the year for scammers, as they prep to deliver their holiday presents – malware attacks and online scams. So, if you are surfing the Internet for presents, gifts or tickets for the holidays, here are some of the common online scams of Christmas you got to watch out for.
Online Shopping Scams of Christmas
You might come across a lot of sites throwing huge discounts and offers for Christmas. It is safe to assume that most of these sites might be bogus, and are advertising fake products. What should you do?
1. Only trust popular online websites.
2. Do some research on the seller.
3. Check the privacy, security, and return policy of the site.
4. Ensure that the site is secure.
More tips here…
Fake Christmas Holiday Deals
This time of the year, online scammers come up with fake sites that display advertisements about cheap holiday deals. Most people even receive emails and calls about such deals. What should you do?
1. Again, only trust official travel sites that you have been using since long.
2. Run a Google search and verify if the deal is real or a fake.
3. Never give away your personal information on emails or calls.
Charity Scams of Christmas
One of the obvious online frauds of Christmas are phishing emails about charity. Using Christmas as their bait, online fraudsters shoot emails that seem to have come from charitable organizations. With emotional appeals of helping the needy, these scammers try to lure people into making charitable donations. What should you do?
1. Verify the name of the organization, its registered office, and who runs it.
2. Never respond to emails, calls, or on websites that urge you to donate for charity.
3. If you are unsure about a charitable organization, Google it, or ask you friends or family.
Phishing Christmas Scams
It is most likely that you will receive emails from unknown, known but unexpected sources claiming that you have won a Christmas gift, you need to upgrade your account, or your loved one has sent you a gift card, etc. These emails might also ask you to download an attachment or to click a link to proceed further. What should you do?
1. Never act on such emails, even if they seem to have come from a well-known organization or someone you know.
2. Be extra cautious of such emails when they talk about free gifts and money, and urge you to download attachments or click links.
3. Report such emails as phishing or spam, or trash them immediately.
4. If you still feel that the email might be somewhat genuine, do not reply but call up the sender and verify.
Fake Christmas Ticket Scams
We all love free tickets to musical events, theaters, talent shows, sports, etc. And piggybacking on this love of ours, scammers lure people into paying for invalid tickets via fake websites or emails. What should you do?
1. Be it any event, always visit its official website to purchase the tickets.
2. If you are using a third party site, ensure that it is popular and well-known.
3. Google the event; if it is real, then you will be able to find some news about it.
4. Do not buy tickets by clicking links on emails, or on calls.
Scams of Christmas E-Cards
It always feels nice to send and receive holiday e-cards. At this time of the year, hackers and scammers send emails to people with e-cards that carry spyware, Trojan, worm, and other malicious codes. What should you do?
1. Do not click or view e-cards sent to you by an unknown email id.
2. Even if an e-card seems to have come from a friend or a co-worker, it is always safe to call them up andverify.
3. If you feel something is strange or weird about a card, do not proceed.
Social Media Scams of Christmas
As you exchange season greetings on FB, Twitter and other social media networks, you might come across posts about free Christmas apps or gifts. There might be posts having links of shocking videos on Christmas. What should you do?
1. Avoid such posts that need you to click on links and visit another website.
2. Be wary of social media posts that ask for donation for charity.
3. Avoid posts that claim to show “Shocking video posts”. These are usually fake and malicious.
To conclude, have a reliable Internet Security program for your PC that can block phishing and infected websites, and block phishing emails. And that would be all for the common online Christmas scams and ways to deal with them. Here’s wishing you a Merry Christmas and Splendid New year! Stay Safe.